Sustainable UCL



The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) initiative will help you improve the sustainability and efficiency of your laboratories.

What is LEAF?

Leaf Logo
Here at UCL Sustainability, we have developed a new tool to help researchers, staff and students, improve the sustainability and efficiency of their laboratories. We have called this tool LEAF, and have spent the past year piloting it at UCL and with 16 other research institutions.


LEAF contains criteria which lab users can implement around areas such as waste & recycling, equipment management, procurement, and more. Criteria are divided into Bronze, Silver or Gold levels. A key feature of LEAF is that it allows you to quantify your savings and impact in pounds and carbon. 

LEAF is being supported by the UKRN (UK reproducibility network), as it contains criteria which improve research quality. This is in recognition of the fact that science which is reproducible is the most sustainable of all, and that there are common solutions to improving research quality and sustainability.

This year at UCL, we had 36 teams submit for LEAF (ranging from single labs to full institutes). Early results are positive, and we will be publishing outcomes of the pilot in August 2019.

Who else is talking about LEAF?

Who is LEAF for?

  • LEAF is intended for anyone working in a lab, including research, teaching, IT, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, Engineering and clinical spaces. This includes NHS areas.
  • LEAF is ideal for technical staff, lab management, PhDs and post-docs with an interest in sustainability, or anyone working around laboratories.


Many laboratories recognise that there are few incentives to improve the sustainability of their environments. LEAF is intended to provide a comparable standard of good practice. LEAF can help inspire new measures,

UCL is developing LEAF with a group of research-intensive universities, including King’s College London, Cambridge, and Bristol. The goal is to evidence the impact from a wide group of universities, to show that your efforts do make a difference. Evidence from the pilot will be presented to research funding bodies and the wider community. We’re hoping that the funding bodies will use this data to help drive extensive sustainable research, so your involvement makes a difference beyond your labs!

What did LEAF achieve?


Who used LEAF in 2018/2019?

  1. University College London
  2. King’s College London
  3. Imperial University
  4. Queen Mary, University of London
  5. University of Brighton
  6. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  7. University of Edinburgh
  8. University of Glasgow
  9. University of Strathclyde
  10. Swansea University
  11. University College Cork
  12. University of Bristol
  13. Manchester Metropolitan University
  14. University of Manchester
  15. University of East Anglia
  16. Cambridge University
  17. Francis Crick Institute